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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, March 14, 2013

a japanese folk tale: the boy who drew cats

. . .The boy learned quickly what the old priest taught him, and was very obedient in most things. But he had one fault. He liked to draw cats during study-hours, and to draw cats even where cats ought not to have been drawn at all. Whenever he found himself alone, he drew cats. He drew them on the margins of the priest's books, and on all the screens of the temple, and on the walls, and on the pillars. Several times the priest told him this was not right; but he did not stop drawing cats. He drew them because he could not really help it. . .

A little boy grows up among his farming family.  He is very smart, but he is thoughtful rather than strong, and not robust.  His family loves him, but they think perhaps he would do better as a priest, so they take him to a temple to learn that life.  As the above snippet indicates, though, the little boy is above all else an artist.  What he loves more than anything else is to draw cats.  Does this work for the temple? No.  Does this work for the boy?  Eventually, yes, it does, and he becomes a hero of sorts.
"The Boy Who Drew Cats" is a Japanese folktale translated by the cultural writer Lafcadio Hearn in 1898. To read the whole story and learn how the cats came through for their creator, visit this pretty page.

1 comment:

parlance said...

What a fabulous tale (literally, lol). I love it. For some reason it reminds me of the tale of Giotto, who was a shepherd boy who drew pictures in the dust.